A Graphic Designer will translate your messaging goals into engaging and informative marketing materials. They are a key part of your creative team alongside the creative director and copywriter. As such, they will need to be a strong team player with a keen sense of design, meticulous attention to detail, and ability to work across a range of media such as print, digital and broadcast.
Look for a candidate who has experience in all stages of the design development process. Creating good looking designs alone is not enough; those designs must communicate the right message to the right audience through the right channels. Make sure your candidate can review and interpret project briefs, offer original ideas for delivering your message, and execute creative elements that accurately reflect direction and feedback. Being a team player is a must, as is the ability to work under tight deadlines.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Graphic Designer interview questions to help you get started:
1. What do you think is the best piece in your design portfolio and why?
What you want to hear: This question allows your candidate to walk you through the steps of their creative process. A strong candidate will readily select a piece, outline the project requirements, explain why they used the specific creative elements, and detail how success was measured. In particular, you want to hear data about increased sales, or improved click-through rates to a home page, or improved brand awareness, or the like.
Red flag: A candidate who has no substantive explanation beyond aesthetics for why they feel one of their pieces is best may simply be creating interesting looking things with no ties to stated business goals.
2. Are you comfortable completing design projects within deadlines?
What you want to hear: Experienced Graphic Designers know that the creative process will typically have to be performed under time constraints. Listen for a candidate who recognizes the importance of prioritizing assignments and has a plan for maximizing efficiency in the completion of tasks. Do they use project management software to help with organizing milestone and delivery dates, managing files, tracking to-dos, creating and sharing documents, communicating with team members, organizing schedules, and the like?
3. How do you react to negative feedback?
What you want to hear: Graphic design is the product of many elements: business goals, style preferences, branding concerns, technical capabilities, and the like. There are also various points of view on a team that includes the client, a creative director, and a copywriter. Listen for a candidate who understands that the creative process requires a give and take of ideas in order to achieve optimal results. An open mind and a willingness to accept feedback of all kinds are essential qualities for a good Graphic Designer.
Red flag: A candidate who appears to get defensive about negative feedback, or has a “know it all” attitude is waving a red flag that they will be a difficult team member and may deliver unacceptable work.
4. What do you like or dislike about our company’s current branding and marketing materials?
What you want to hear: This question will give you a chance to see how well your candidate prepared for the interview by studying all available information about your company, its branding, and marketing strategy. Listen for a candidate who can offer a clear explanation as to why they like or dislike about the current direction. They should be able to discuss your messaging, design style and elements, and marketing channels. A stellar candidate will inquire about the original project goals and then compare those goals to the design outcome they see. If there is something they dislike, you want to know why and what they would do differently.
5. How do you measure the success of your design projects?
What you want to hear: Effective graphic design is more than just aesthetically pleasing visuals. Those visuals must also motivate the target audience to action. For example, does the print advertisement elicit the right emotional response from the reader? Does the web page motivate a click through by the user? Does the billboard generate more walk-ins to the store down the block? Look for a candidate who can articulate how they and their clients have measured the success or failure of their past design work.
6. Tell me about a time you hit a creative block on a project. How did you overcome it?
What you want to hear: Creative blocks happen. What you want to know is how your candidate handles creative blocks as they encounter them. Does it appear that an occurrence frustrates to the point of project paralysis? Or are they resourceful in looking for ways to overcome their block? For example, do they step away from the project briefly and return to it with a fresh perspective? Do they consult with other graphic designers to casually brainstorm? Do they have other resources available to generate ideas?
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Graphic Designer position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Understand how to merge business goals with design strategy
- Are capable of performing well under tight deadlines
- Are strong team players who use feedback of all kinds to their advantage
Need help writing a Graphic Designer job description? Check out our Graphic Designer job description template.
Preparation and analysis are often essential to creating an effective design. Describe the steps you take before beginning a new project.
Do you prefer working independently or as part of a team? Why?
What methods do you use to stay current on new design trends and digital tools?
From a graphic design perspective, what is one brand you admire the most? Why?
Companies may evolve their brand as new industry trends emerge. What is your strategy for when and how a brand should evolve?
What is color theory? Do you believe it’s important to consider color theory during design creation? Why or why not?
Tell me about your most effective design project. What kind of results did it achieve?
What techniques do you use to stay motivated and inspired while working with one brand over a long period of time?
What is your process for analyzing a new brand during your first week of work?
How do you know when a project is finished? Why?